NEW ORLEANS — The Center for Contemporary Art has announced the appointment of Erin Lee Antonak as Curator of Multidisciplinary Arts. Antonak joins the CAC to develop its multidisciplinary programming in visual and performing arts.
With over 20 years of curatorial and exhibition design experience, Antonak has curated and curated exhibitions in Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Africa. Also an exhibiting sculptor, Antonak began her career in New Orleans at the CAC with curator David Rubin and at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, under the direction of David Houston. She then worked at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, the Delaware Museum of Art, and most recently at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bard College and an MFA. Arts from the State University of New York, New Paltz.
Antonak studied planning and design of museum exhibitions at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and fine arts at the Lacoste School of the Arts in Lacoste, France. She is currently a Morse College Scholar at Yale University and Chair of the Board of the Indigenous Women’s Voices Summit. She is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. She spent her childhood visiting museums with Rita Chrisjohn, her artist/anthropologist mother, and Iroquois chief Richard Shakowi Chrisjohn, her woodcarver grandfather.
“I’m an indigenous woman and I’m a carver,” she said. “I grew up in an extended family of Haudenosaunee artists whose work was only exhibited in natural history museums or in anthropological contexts. As I studied sculpture at Bard College and became more exposed to the contemporary art world, I recognized the lack of representation of what I understood about art. This awareness led me to push for Indigenous artists to be seen as living, evolving and important voices in the contemporary art world. I have worked on exhibitions in many museums and institutions over the years. I get the most joy from working with under-recognized artists, creating space for them to tell their own stories, and helping emerging artists launch their careers. It’s a great honor for me to bring my years of experience back to New Orleans to support its artists and do what I can to share the stories of the city and region with the rest of the world.
Antonak said she was thrilled to return to New Orleans with her husband, Brian, whom she met in New Orleans 20 years ago, and their two children, Calder and Archer.